Favorite Sea-Fever Post of 2008

The popular and always entertaining Proper Course blog has challenged sailing bloggers to submit their best 2008 posts. (Simply The Best) Although I am a sailor and do blog, technically Sea-Fever is not a “sailing” blog. But what the heck, maybe he won’t notice.

With 320 posts passing under the keel in 2008, the task of identifying my “best” was a bit daunting. There had to be a few worthwhile in the flotsam and jetsam of words that flow through this blog each week. I was tempted to submit my last post titled Sea(cret) Santa (4 Days Left): Sexy Women of Maritime Calendar because it seemed to be one of the more popular ones, especially among my saltiest readers.

In the end, I decided it was more appropriate to go with my “favorite” post because I felt the only honest judge of what’s “best” would be someone other than me. (Like Sea-Fever readers, perhaps?)

So my favorite post was Richard Branson Answers My Questions About Adventure Sailing and Business Part of the contest is to answer “Why this post is simply the best?” in 30 words so here it is:

This post is simply the best because it brought together all of my passions: sailing, leadership and social media. Sir Richard Branson answered my Twittered questions about sailing and leadership via audio and that was pretty cool!

Since this is my own blog, I can take more than 30 words. This post was really a convergence of my personal and professional interests and passions. It covered Sir Richard Branson failed attempt at setting the Transatlantic single hull sailing crossing record with his daughter and son aboard the yacht Virgin Money.

Richard and Holly Branson on Virgin Money


Richard Branson is definitely one of the more interesting global corporate leaders in the world today. He projects enthusiasm and optimism in nearly anything he undertakes. He embodies Jim Collins Good to Great principle of establishing “Big Hairy Audacious Goals” (BHAGs) and often but not always is successful in achieving them. He’s a confident risk taker who demonstrates resiliency when things don’t go as planned. It was a thrill to be able to have a short social media exchange with him.


The Transatlantic crossing sailing record for a mono-hull was held by the schooner Atlantic for over 100 years until it was smashed in October 2003 by Mari-Cha IV with a passage of 6 days 17 hours 52 minutes and 39 seconds. In order, to beat Mari-Cha IV, Virgin Money had to pull out all the stops and sail in challenging conditions at the front end of major weather system. It’s a high stakes battle between engineering technology, human intelligence and mother nature.

Social Media

I am fascinated by how emerging technologies have an impact on the way we communicate and interact today. I’m particularly interested in how leaders use these technologies to distribute messages to advance their vision or cause. Virgin Money was posting video to YouTube in the middle of their challenge of the transatlantic crossing record. In addition, Richard Branson actually began using Twitter from the vessel to update followers on their progress and after turning back he sent out a call for questions about the adventure. I sent him 3 questions which he answered via audio comments posted to his blog dispelling any thought that he might have delegated this to a PR hack or assistant. Listen here.

Pure and simple, this was my favorite post because it brought together leadership, sailing and social media and like I said earlier, that was pretty cool!

Tillerman’s challenge was a great catalyst to review my past year’s blogging efforts, think about what worked, what didn’t and how to chart a Proper Course for 2009. Thanks!

Thanks to all of the loyal Sea-Fever readers for your support in 2008. I wish you and your families a Happy, Healthy, Safe and Successful 2009!

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Sea(cret) Santa (4 Days Left): Sexy Women of Maritime Calendar

Sea(cret) Santa is pleased to report that there is no recession in the North Pole and he and the elves have been busier than a crew of one-armed sailmakers. Unfortunately, his Internet connection has been down for a few days so he’s been unable to post some of his favorite maritime gift suggestions. But here’s one that should make up for the silence.

Women of Maritime 2009 CalendarAs CEO of Christmas, Santa uses new and old technology to make things run as smooth as possible. One of his favorite old school tools is the simple printed calendar and this year he’s found one that’s sure to bring a smile to every mariner’s face.  And have no worries, even Mrs. Claus approves of Women of Maritime Calendar put out by Jack Tar Magazine (Rated PG-13). Take it from Sea(cret) Santa, there’s no better way to keep track of your most important dates than having a good old calendar you want to keep coming back to. Here’s who’s inside:

January – Kim Carver of Bill of Rights, Lady Washington, Manitou and others
February – Hilary of Seaward, Corwith Cramer, Robert C. Seamans, Harvey Gamage Spirit of Massachusetts
March – Jen of HMS Bounty, Highlander Sea
April – Alysia of Hawaiian Chieftain, Lady Washington
May – Rosemary of Tole Mour, Mystic Whaler, Exy Johnson and Irving Johnson, Hawaiian Chieftain, Lady Washington
June – Cher of Lady Washington and others
July – Abigail M, works for NOAA, mostly in Alaska
August – Anne Catherine Kruger of Robert C. Seamans, Corwith Cramer, Catalyst
September – Elaine Eno of Lynx, Exy Johnson and Irving Johnson, Lady Washington, Amistad, Hawaiian Chieftain, Californian, Seaward, Bill of Rights, Kaisei
October – Cass of Zodiac, Adventuress, Lady Washington
November – Suzanne, works for fisheries, mostly in Alaska
December – Lia, a fisheries researcher

Since you probably want to learn a little more about the Women of Maritime and Jack Tar, here’s an interview with founder, managing editor and January Woman of Maritime, Captain Kim Carver…

Continue reading Sea(cret) Santa (4 Days Left): Sexy Women of Maritime Calendar

Sea(cret) Santa (9 Days Left): Must Sea TV

imageSome of the all-time most popular and commented posts on Sea-Fever were about the PBS’s Carrier and Sea(cret) Santa thinks someone special in your life might enjoy this critically acclaimed documentary in a nice DVD boxed set. What better way to spend a snowy winter weekend than tucked up in a Carrier marathon viewing.

From PBS:

CARRIER is a character driven, edge-of-your-seat, nonfiction drama as well as a total immersion in the high stakes world of a nuclear aircraft carrier. CARRIER follows a core group of film participants aboard the USS Nimitz, from the admiral of the strike group to the fighter pilots to the youngest sailors, as they navigate personal conflicts around their jobs, families, faith, patriotism, love, the rites of passage and the war on terror. (Price $39.99)

Here’s a sneak peak:

YouTube – Full Trailer 1 – Carrier On Mississippi Public Broadcasting

Not only will you be giving the gift of entertainment, but you’ll be supporting the great programming that PBS gives us.

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Psst, here’s a sneak peak at my new leadership column in MarineNews magazine. Don’t tell. ;-)

marinenews-nov-2008-cover Here’s a sneak peak at my inaugural Leadership column for MarineNews magazine.  Please make sure you subscribe and tell them how much these insights have changed your life. (Just in case there is any question, my tongue is in my cheek.) ;-)

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Sea(cret) Santa (10 Days left): Sea Food

Time’s running short for holiday shopping but Sea(cret) Santa has a few unique maritime ideas still in his sea bag.

J & E Riggin. Photo by Elizabeth Poisson

Who’s the most important on a ship? The captain? Well, only if the captain is also the cook! Well, Captain Annie Mahle wear both the captain and chef hat aboard the Maine windjammer J. & E. Riggin. From her great Artichokes and Asparagus blog:

I am a mother, wife, friend, captain and chef in Maine. My husband and I run the Schooner J&E Riggin, a Maine Windjammer that takes 24 guests each week out for a one-of-a-kind adventure. We are a green, all about the food, happy family vacation for big grown ups and little kids.

At Home At Sea Captain Annie is also a cookbook author. From At Home, At Sea;

We’re all about slow cooked food—before everyone else started talking about it. When you’re cooking on our schooner’s antique cast iron woodstove you have to be.

If you’re looking for authentic Maine food and recipes from the sea, Captain Anne’s cookbook is for you. Explore our site and you will  immediately know that Anne cares about food, not only in what and how she serves it, but also in where and how it came from. If Annie can make these delicious, comforting recipes in her galley, sometimes at a 30 degree heel, on a wood stove, then you can make them anywhere!

Here’s a bonus preview of Captain/Chef Annie making one her daughter’s favorites:

YouTube – Cheesy Garlic Bread

Bon Voyage and Appetite!

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Sea(cret) Santa (12 Days Left): Sail Proud and Look Good

Looking for some fun sailing shirts and other cool kit, Sea(cret) Santa recommends checking out Sail (Proud). From their website:

Sail(Proud) is a lifestyle apparel company focused on a dedication to transitional performance and stylish, nautical design. SP’s roots began in 2007 as a term project while attending classes at Babson College in MA, and is now spreading to become a passionate community of sailors, yachters, and maritime enthusiasts worldwide. At Sail(Proud) we pride ourselves on a relentless focus on quality, performance, and comfort – all while remaining passionate about growing the sport and giving back to worthy causes.

Santa is particularly fond of Sail(Proud)’s Andre who comes to life on a series of fun long sleeve shirts.


Buying your special sailor Sail(Proud) apparel will not only make them (and you) look good, you’ll be supporting a worthy cause, The Heart of Sailing Foundation.

Here’s a video of the guys explaining how Sail(Proud) launched.

YouTube – Meet André – Sail(Proud) Apparel

There should be no excuses. Sail Proud. Look Good!

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Sea(cret) Santa (13 Days Left): Artful Giving

Sea(cret) Santa thinks that there is no better gift to give someone special than art and today in keeping with Sea-Fever tradition of FotoFriday, his bag is full of Fred LeBlanc’s unique maritime photographs.

Ernestina Fred Leblanc

About the artist from his website:

Frederick J. LeBlanc has worked as a professional photojournalist for over twenty-five years. His commercial and editorial images have appeared regularly in regional and national publications. His life long passion for classic wooden sailing vessels has led him, over the last decade, to document these historic windjammers as they sail, in harmony with the wind and sea.

Viewing himself as a photojournalistic storyteller, he uses his fine art prints,to bring to the public a greater awareness and appreciation of our maritime heritage.

Through his collections of photographic artwork he hopes to recall a vanishing era when the waves were broken only by the power of the wind, to capture the majestic beauty of these historic tall ships and to offer a visual escape that evokes a longing for the sea.

Fred also writes Wake of the Windjammers, an interesting blog about maritime heritage and photography.

Roseway Sails

Best of all, Fred’s original artwork is very reasonably priced. For instance, the above “Roseway Sails,” a 11×16 archival pigment ink print on media, matted 16×20 (includes shipping and handling) is a Collectors Print December Special offered for only $ 39.00! Prices on his other work start at $20.

Fred’s been a great promoter of maritime heritage and supporter nonprofit organizations like the American Sail Training Association.  And Santa thinks his art is great too!

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Sea(cret) Santa (14 Days Left): A Sailor’s Handiwork

For as long as sailors have been going to sea they have been engaged in making art and crafts. Scrimshaw and shipmodeling immediately come to mind. Today things aren’t all that different.

@sailorjenny is one of my Twitter “friends” and she’s a sailor in the Navy who makes some pretty nifty jewelry which she sells on Etsy.com.  From her profile:

A sailor’s life for me! I’ve been sailing the high seas (and some of the low ones, too) for 12 years. I love my job, I get to see wonderful places and amazing people and learn so much about how similar we all are – all while earning a paycheck! But when I’m not out on the waters, I’m at home in sunny San Diego exercising my creativity and creating pretty things. I enjoy the creative process, it’s like therapy for me. I love my day job, but it’s a stressful line of work, and making the world a little more beautiful helps me to balance the not-so-nice parts. My favorite time of the day is after the kidlets are in bed and the house is set back to rights, and I can create for my self in solitude. I love the process and the little bits of reclaimed goodness that my works come from. Some evenings I just go through my findings and dream; some nights I’m like a woman on fire, creating until my wonderful husband prods me off to dreamland. I hope you enjoy wearing/using my creations as much as I have enjoyed making them, I love knowing that a little piece of me is in every piece, wherever it goes.

I am inspired by my 2 wonderful precocious children, my truly wonderful Soul mate, the sea, the sailors around me and the things I find in my travels of the world.

Here’s a sample of her beautiful jewelry. More can be found here.

Hope Floats necklace

Get something truly unique for someone really special and support a sailor in the process.

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Sea(cret) Santa (15 Days Left): Limited Edition Tugboat Ornament

Portsmouth tug ornament

Just 15 shopping days left and Sea(cret) Santa is here with another nautical gift suggestion for that mariner in your life who already has everything.

Sea(cret) Santa recently discovered these limited edition 24 kt gold plated holiday ornaments that feature the famous Portsmouth tugs. These beauties are being sold by the local Rotary Club and all of the proceeds go to area charities. You better hurry is you’re interested because they only produced 600. Here’s how you can purchase them. Price $14.

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Sea(cret) Santa (16 Days Left): Scurvy Begone

Just 22 shopping days left and Sea(cret) Santa is here with another nautical gift suggestion for that mariner in your life who already has everything.

826 Valencia is an amazing nonprofit organization in San Francisco dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their writing skills, and to helping teachers get their students excited about the writing. Their work is based on the understanding that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success and that great leaps in learning can be made when skilled tutors work one-on-one with students.

826 Valencia also operates the world’s only Pirate Supply Store. While Santa realizes that pirates are bad, there is really no where else that carries Scurvy Begone.

scurvyFrom the Pirate Store website:

You have: incredibly tender gums, loose teeth, internal and external bleeding, a weak kidney, and a massive vitamin C deficiency. We have: citrus flavored pills. Price: $9

Editor’s note: We recommend you check with your health insurance provider to see if Scurvy Begone is covered under your plan.

Other things that you might find interesting at the Pirate Supply Store are their FAQ’s (All Q’s, no A’s) and their Gallery of Signs which includes this one:


Of course, if you are in a real gift giving spirit this Holiday Season, why not consider making a donation to 826 Valencia and helping a nonprofit help some inner city kids get a head start on life. Please watch:

YouTube – A Day at 826 Valencia

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